Wed, 27 Mar 96 20:41:46 PST

(I've still got duct tape on my shoes.)

I didn't go to my morning classes today because I got home at 4:00 am.

From where, you might be asking? From the bay area, of course! After classes on tuesday I drove from Santa Cruz to Davis, picked up Zoggo, and then to the Trocadero in looooovvveely San Fran to see Front Line Assembly.

The prerequisite black-costumed pale-faced folks packed the place, as well as some truly excellent specimens in drag, and some vampiric slinky females doing slow sensuous movements to music that was unfittingly loud and manic. I suppose the various drugs most of them were on helped set their mood.-I smelled many exotic flavors in the smoke, and observed a tight little group in the corner near the enterance hall snorting things from the cups of their extended thumbs and wearing the typical goofy junkie grin. The place gradually filled up with smoke as the opening bands played.

In my grey sweater and blue jeans and lack of makeup and earring I stood out. I saw a few folks dressed as I was, and came to an interesting realization that my attire was as stereotypical as the threads of the goths surrounding me- I was garbed in the carbon-copy 'college student' getup. Conservative in being non-committal. I didn't mind my duds. But I realized that if I had the opportunity to change into, say, a black dress, perhaps with golden-buckled low heeled shoes and squat velvet short-brimmed had hat sporting a large yellow feather cocked at an interested angle, I would have. Hmmm, I suppose with the shoes I would have looked more like a witch than a goth. Lose the buckles then. Go for some squarish steel-toed boots and overstretched patchy dark stockings. Yeah, you're all saying, whatever Grote.

The first band, 'Numb', was just loud and shitty. The second band, 'Die Krupps', was better. The only creative instrument they had, though, was a single chunk of metal that the signer hit with two sticks. I tapped Zoggo on the shoulder and he angled his ear down so I could yell directly into it. 'Now I see why he's not the drummer!' I screamed. Zoggo smiled. I suppose the only reason I'm not stone deaf right now is because he brought a wad of toilet paper in his pocket, from which we tore impromptu earplugs. I had a pair of my own, but forgot to bring them to the door, and the car was a good four blocks away.

I concealed Zoggo while he stripped a poster from the walls of the club. I wanted to grab one of my own but he insisted that I do the peeling, and I figured that I wasn't tall enough to grab the top of one inconspicuously from their place on the walls opposite the bar and grill.

Barcode decoration goes here After a very long wait, FLA came out. A smoke machine concealed their entrance. They started with a nice roiling soundscape of violent noises that grew into Vigilante, from Millenium. (I think that's what the song's called anyhow. I know it was off Millenium because it was very guitar-heavy.) People started bopping around and bouncing off each other. For a while I stood next to one of the employees, who was on the fringe of the crowd shoving the more energetic moshers back into the center to keep the chaos from spreading to the less sporting ones at the sides and back. I helped him out, covertly enjoying the great big SHOVE I could give to all the drunk spastic dorks that blindly buffeted each other around. They were too far gone to care: They were moshing, after all. Every once in a while some adventurous mosher would jump high into the air and crowd surf, but my employee compadre would have none of this. Whenever someone made it up he would squirt through the crowd like he was greased, and quickly haul the offender down to earth. The first few surfers got away with it the longest. These were all more plainly dressed females, and appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely as they drifted from hand to hand. All in all, an amusing sight. It would be easy to imagine that no one got hurt, except for the bruised and unhappy looking people that intermittantly staggered past me from the thick of the dance floor, sometimes holding their stomachs or clutching a bloodied nose.

After a long string of songs and soundscapes that I didn't recognize, they suddenly quit and the stage went dark. It took the crowd about twenty minutes to haul them back out for an encore of two songs; however it was worth it. The last one they played was the one I could best recognize- it was the long version of Mindphaser, and I truly enjoyed myself. Zoggo and I decided to move up, and I bopped my way into the mosh zone and got magically transported around the room in great disjointed circles for much of the song. Soon I decided that I'd had enough, and I found it remarkably easy to cut through the people and over to Zoggo, who was nodding along to the beat in his monolithic way. The closest thing I came to an injury all evening was when someone accidentally stepped on my duct-taped foot.

The song finished with a long crazy soundscape, and the lights went on, revealing beer cups and cigarretes and various strips of clothing smashed all over the floor. I took off my gloves and felt my sweatshirt- it was extremely damp. I had on a shirt under it, and it felt wetter than the shirt, so I can only conclude that it was soaked with other people's sweat. As I wandered out I passed a counter where FLA merchandise was being peddled. I purchased no souvenir, however: they wanted 20 bucks for a lousy t-shirt, and were trying to sell the new single for seven. If I had a real job I might have bought the single.

On the way back I was tired as hell. It was an incredible effort to keep my eyes open. In fact, I may very well have driven off the road, and could be dreaming all this from a hospital bed somewhere. Oh well, at least the colors are nice.

The gas light came on before I hit The Hill. I put what little fuel I could afford into the tank but the gas light remained lit, all the way home. That extra money that Zoggo bestowed upon me before I left may have saved my butt.

So! I missed two classes today, and what have I gained? One heck of an experience! That which does not kill us makes us stranger, aye? I would have thought that the sight of so many goths and junkies and punks and freaks would be frightening, but it was more (garote strains at length for the proper word) ...pitiful. I complimented various folk for their clothes, saw some intricate costumes and interestingly contoured bodies, but couldn't think of much to say to or ask of the people. No one seemed to give much of a damn about anything.

'Twas a breath of fresh air tho, a new experience. Now back to the grind of cabrillo. :/

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